Who we are

We work to integrate the value nature provides to society into all major decisions. Our ultimate objective is to improve the well-being of all people and nature by motivating greater and more targeted natural capital investments.

We operate as a partnership between Stanford University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of Minnesota, the Stockholm Resilience Centre, The Nature Conservancy, and the World Wildlife Fund. We are a team of academics, software engineers, and real-world professionals with the optimism, commitment, and humility to work together. Our common quest is to shine a light on the intimate connections between people and nature, and to reveal, test, and scale ways of securing the well-being of both.

Our Approach

Starting with listening, we work with decision-makers to develop solutions. We use iterative engagement that begins with stakeholders and their needs, so the new science and tools that we develop are immediately relevant and can be incorporated into existing decision processes. We work in a wide array of places and sectors, developing nature-based solutions to problems as varied as: building resilience to climate and coastal hazards in Belize and the Gulf Coast states of the United States; guiding development planning in China, British Columbia, The Bahamas, and Myanmar; managing corporate risk in global sourcing decisions for Unilever; informing impact assessment and permitting for the Colombian Ministry of the Environment; making smart transportation loan decisions by the Inter-American Development Bank across Latin America; targeting investments in forest restoration for IUCN and country governments in Africa. In addition to developing the evidence for the power of natural capital approaches to transform decisions, we create software (now downloaded in 160 countries), build capacity through learning exchanges and trainings, and engage leaders to accelerate the uptake and magnify the impact of successes to date.



With partners, we carefully document the results of collaborations around the world, and have created a diverse portfolio of examples where natural capital science is encouraging long-term, strategic investment in nature.


Our free and open-source software tools are built in vivo, with specific decision-makers, to be locally and globally relevant.


We innovate and build capacity with communities worldwide, engage key leaders, and collaborate to reform institutions so that private, short-term goals will more closely align with society’s long-term goals.

Our Partners

NatCap is a partnership of four world-class academic institutions – Stanford University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of Minnesota, and the Stockholm Resilience Centre – advancing new science together with, inspired by, and implemented through two of the world’s largest NGOs, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund. We work with other key collaborators so that our science directly informs decisions. At Stanford, our primary university homes are the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Department of Biology, while our collaborations engage faculty and students across all schools. At the Chinese Academy of Sciences, our primary home is the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences. At the University of Minnesota, our primary home is the Institute on the Environment. Uniquely positioned as neither an academic institution nor an NGO, we inhabit the space between the two to deliver top-notch science and tools to bring the value of natural capital into real-world decisions.

Beyond our five core partners, we have significant and growing partnerships with academic collaborators for science innovation (including the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), the University of Washington  the University of Vermont and Xi’an Jaiotong University). We engage with governments, development banks, businesses, NGOs, and other institutions co-leading “use cases,” working together to advance, apply, and mainstream natural capital approaches and tools to inform specific decisions.


Our People


Our people–our human capital–make our work possible (and fun too).  The Natural Capital Project is led by an interdisciplinary team of core scientists and project leaders from each partner institution, as well as strategic advisors with deep experience in multiple realms. Our team includes ecologists, economists, policy experts, geographers, hydrologists, computer scientists, software engineers, and more–all working to make valuing natural capital easier and more accessible to everyone.


Our Supporters

Our work is made possible by generous support from our partner institutions, from philanthropic foundations, government grants, multi-lateral institutions, and private gifts. Click here if you’re interested in supporting our work.

  • World Wildlife Fund
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Stanford University
  • University of Minnesota
  • Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
  • The Google Foundation
  • The National Science Foundation
  • The Inter-American Development Bank
  • IUCN
  • Unilever
  • The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Femsa Foundation
  • MAVA Foundation
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
  • Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund
  • The David and Lucille Packard Foundation
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • The World Bank
  • Summit Foundation
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration